Many hospital infections are “never events” that can be prevented with simple, effective steps that reduce the risk of potentially life-threatening injuries and potential hospital infection lawsuits. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal highlights both some old tried-and-true infection prevention techniques, as well as some emerging technology that could be employed to avoid hospital infections, such as the drug-resistant MRSA bug.
Washing hands, maintaining checklists and thoroughly cleaning medical equipment and rooms all go a long way towards the prevention of the spread of bacteria and infection, and are simple, cost effective, and could save patients hardship, money, and potentially their lives. These simple preventative measures could also save hospitals millions in medical malpractice awards and legal fees.
According to the Wall Street Journal report, infection in hospitals affect as many as 10% of all U.S. hospital patients. These infections result in up to $6.5 billion in unnecessary cost and result in an estimated 100,000 deaths every year. However, as the report points out, “they are not inevitable.”
For example, the article reports that hospitals that have installed hand sanitizer at regular intervals have seen the staff’s basic hand hygiene compliance jump from less than 50% to more than 80%. While that’s encouraging, the fact that some hospitals needed hand sanitizer stations because less than half their staff was regularly washing their hands before interacting with patients could go a long way to explain why hospital infections, and hospital infection lawsuits, have been on the rise.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that there are more than 2 million hospital infections acquired by patients each year. That’s not including 1.5 million nursing home infections acquired by patients in long-term care facilities.
Most experts agree that such infection from hospitals are preventable through simple steps and protocols. These protocols can include:
- Frequent hand washing
- Thorough cleaning of medical instruments and rooms
- Screening incoming patients for latent infections
- Creating portable kits of sanitized equipment used in common nursing procedures
- Bedside procedure checklists to ensure procedures are done correctly
In addition to the old standards, there is a batch of new technology which will make it easier for hospitals to reduce infections, and will make it even more inexcusable when they are unsuccessful at doing so. Some of the emerging technologies include room sanitizing robots, databases showing where a hospital is generating the most infected patients and which surgeons are having problems with infected patients, and antibacterial baths for patients most at risk.
HOSPITAL INFECTION MALPRACTICE LAWYERS
The medical malpractice lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. investigate potential claims for injuries caused by hospital infections throughout the United States. If you, a friend or family member have suffered a severe or fatal injury as a result of an infection from hospital negligence, request a free consultation and claim evaluation.